Climate Newsprint

The skyscraper at the heart of the debate over America’s green building standard

Guardian Environment - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 14:12

One Bryant Park has become ground zero in the battle over Leed, with some critics claiming the tower highlights the green certification’s shortcomings

The skyscraper at One Bryant Park in Manhattan looks like a vision of the future – or at least, what the movies tell us the future will look like. A towering 945 feet of glass, concrete and steel, arranged in crystalline planes, it evokes utopian visions of space-aged cities, hyper-efficient and cutting-edge.

But the building is cutting-edge beyond the surface too, reflecting the latest trends in sustainable construction: its urinals are waterless, its concrete is partially composed of blast furnace slag and its water system recycles rainwater. Completed in 2009, the billion-dollar building was the first skyscraper to be awarded a coveted platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or Leed.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 13:36

The last US Sumatran rhino, a mushroom fairy ring and an amazing Jesus lizard are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Greenpeace says India has cancelled its legal registration

Guardian Environment - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 13:15

Environmental group says home ministry ordered cancellation of its registration to operate, following earlier crackdown on foreign funding

Greenpeace says its registration to operate in India has been cancelled under orders from the country’s home ministry.

The environmental group said in a statement that it would challenge Friday’s decision in court.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

The journey towards more sustainable rubber leads to Russian dandelions

Guardian Environment - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 12:36

From specially bred dandelions to using recycled tyres in Timberland footwear, the industry is working to take pressure off the environment

The life of a tyre begins with the rubber tree in south-east Asia, which produces around 90% of the world’s natural rubber supply. The tyre industry consumes around 70% of all natural rubber grown because it offers performance qualities, such as resistance and load-bearing capability, unmatched by synthetic alternatives.

Increasing car ownership in countries such as India and China is driving up demand for rubber. To meet this, recent research estimates rubber plantations in south-east Asia will have to expand by 8.5m hectares by 2024, with potentially “catastrophic” consequences for forests, primates and endangered birds.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Fossil fuel memes: are you fracking serious?

Guardian Environment - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 12:00

The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing continues to spread, even though critics say it can potentially poison water supplies and cause earthquakes. Here’s a series of postcards that would make anyone want energy companies to get the frack out of their neighborhood

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Bernie Sanders launches new climate plan to curb US fossil fuel extraction

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 16:58

Keep it in the Ground Act would ban all new fossil fuel leases on public lands and waters, something activists view as a big gap in Obama’s climate plan

Bernie Sanders launched a new climate campaign on Wednesday, aimed at fighting global warming by banning new coal, oil and gas mining on public land.

The Keep it in the Ground Act co-sponsored by the senator and Democratic presidential candidate aims at plugging one of the big gaps in Barack Obama’s climate change plan: his administration’s continued sanction of fossil fuel extraction on the government’s lands and waters.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

UK government axes plans for fracking in protected nature sites

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 16:47

Double U-turn as controversial technique for extracting shale gas will not be allowed in Sites of Special Scientific Interest after all

The government has backed down on its plan to allow fracking in some of England’s most important nature sites.

The controversial technique for extracting shale gas will not be allowed in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) after all, ministers said on Wednesday, after previously opening the door to fracking in such sites in July.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Justin Trudeau sworn in as Canada's second youngest prime minister ever

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 16:41

The 43-year-old former schoolteacher and son of late prime minister Pierre Trudeau will face the media with members of his Cabinet later on Wednesday

Justin Trudeau has been sworn in as Canada’s prime minister, following in the footsteps of his storied father.

The 43-year-old Trudeau, a former schoolteacher and a member of parliament since 2008, on Wednesday became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Prickly problem: man crowdfunds vet bill after porcupine takes on dogs

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:42

Canadian Dennis Mazur raises thousands online to cover cost of treating three pets, one of which was severely injured

The owner of three dogs who was landed with a hefty vet bill after his pets encountered a prickly situation with a porcupine has raised thousands of pounds in a crowdfunding campaign.

Dennis Mazur, a youth worker, was out walking his dogs – Mahalo, Nestah and Solijah – when they came across the spiny rodent and were stabbed with its quills in Saskatchewan, Canada.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Al Gore's plan for huge global climate concerts downgraded to Paris webcast

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:27

Second round of Live Earth music concerts promised by former US vice-president and Pharrell Williams were due to be broadcasted to billions around the world

Pharrell Williams and Al Gore’s promise of a second round of Live Earth concerts on seven continents that would be broadcast to an audience of billions has been downgraded to a webcast in Paris, organisers have confirmed.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

The future is here: mass-market hydrogen cars take to Britain's roads

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:00

Billed for the last decade as a clean alternative to petrol or electric vehicles, hydrogen cars are no longer a car show concept but a driving reality. The challenge for manufacturers now is widescale adoption

The first mass production hydrogen cars, billed for more than a decade as a clean alternative to petrol and diesel vehicles but only glimpsed as concepts at automotive trade shows, have arrived on British roads.

The most abundant element in the universe has added allure for carmakers in the wake of the Volkswagen pollution scandal and revelations about the gap between lab and real-world emissions tests.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Are hydrogen cars the answer to our pollution woes? – video

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:00

The Hyundai ix35 is the Korean company’s first attempt to bring hydrogen-fuelled cars to the mass market, promising zero-emissions and more convenience at the pump. But with electric vehicles being backed by most of the big car-makers now, is hydrogen off to a late start in the race for green driving? Adam Vaughan takes it for a spin to find out more


Read more: The future is here: mass-market hydrogen cars take to Britain’s roads

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Q&A: what are the new revelations about VW?

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 12:33

Hard on the heels of the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen has come forward with new data discrepancies relating to CO2 levels

That is the implication of the oblique statement released by the German carmaker on Tuesay. VW said it found “irregularities” and “unexplained inconsistencies” in the levels of carbon dioxide emitted by its cars. It admitted that CO2 levels and fuel consumption figures for some models were set too low during the testing process.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

VW scandal might spur new low-emission car solutions, says Germany

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:52

Deputy environment minister says country’s green image has not been harmed by scandal that could force car manufacturers to come up with improved clean-energy designs

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal could force German carmakers to come up with new and better ways to build more climate-friendly vehicles, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Deputy environment minister, Jochen Flasbarth, said he did not believe the scandal had damaged Germany’s image as a leader in environmental protection ahead of a UN climate summit in Paris in December.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Why supermarkets’ love of use-by dates leads to food waste | Joanna Blythman

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:00
Use-by and best-before dates have been endowed with an authority they do not deserve, and allow food manufacturers and supermarkets to play around with the concepts of freshness and safety

Rekindled by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste programme, contributions to the seemingly intractable food-waste debate are piling up like an overstuffed compost bin. Environment secretary Liz Truss admitted that she ignores best-before dates; hardly a shocker that, because most people who have a grasp of the keeping properties of food do the same. Such is our creeping disillusionment with supermarkets, many of us are now inclined to trust our intuition as to whether a food can safely be used in some way or other. Such scepticism is a wholly positive trend – the best-before date has always been deeply dubious.

Related: Produced but never eaten: a visual guide to food waste

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

China underreporting coal consumption by up to 17%, data suggests

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 09:29

Revelation may mean China has emitted close to a billion additional tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year

China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has been dramatically underreporting the amount of coal it consumes each year, it has been claimed ahead of key climate talks in Paris.

Official Chinese data, reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after being quietly released earlier this year, suggests China has been burning up to 17% more coal each year than previously disclosed by the government.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Why eco-austerity won’t save us from climate change

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 08:15

Progressives need to rediscover their Promethean ambitions and counter green ideologies that hold us back and won’t save the planet

Despite the anti-capitalist rhetoric of green-left writers like Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, and the anti-corporate street protests of environmental NGOs, could it be that their small-is-beautiful, degrowth, localist, organic, anti-GMO and anti-nuclear approach to solving climate change and biodiversity loss is in fact working in service of neoliberalism (while not even doing much to help the planet either)?

Ever since The Population Bomb, the 1968 bestseller by serial-Chicken-Little and anti-natalist Paul Ehrlich, warning that four billion would die of starvation by the end of the 1980s, and the Club of Rome’s 1972 report Limits to Growth that predicted civilizational “overshoot and collapse” within decades, neo-Malthusians have been telling us we need to degrow the economy and retreat from a Western, consumerist, high-technology, unsustainable way of life, or else Hobbesian doom is all but a fortnight away.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Eye in the sky: awesome aerial views of Earth – in pictures

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 07:00

Flamingos in flight, human towers and salt flats that look like giant trees ... Yann Arthus-Bertrand has travelled around the globe shooting staggering aerial scenes

Human: A Portrait of Our World is out now, published by Thames and Hudson

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

A global shift to 100% renewables is not just cleaner – it's about equality

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 06:56

Communities in Germany, Canada and Uganda are already reaping the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels to more decentralised energy systems

As the world’s energy system shifts from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the question is no longer if the world will transition to sustainable energy, but how long it will take and whether the transition can be made in ways that maximise the benefits today and for future generations.

Changing our energy system is about more than replacing fossil resources with sun and wind. In fact, the economic model for renewables is completely different: 100% renewable energy can lead us to a more equal distribution of wealth.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

China has 'duty to humanity' to curb pollution, premier says

Guardian Environment - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 06:00

Li Keqiang says Chinese economic model is ‘unsustainable’ and it must cut energy use, but does not outline specific measures

China has used up too much energy and too many resources in its quest for growth, premier Li Keqiang has told visiting French president François Hollande, adding that the country has a “duty to humanity” to clean itself up.

Related: US 'playing catch-up to China' in clean energy efforts, UN climate chief says

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Categories: Climate Newsprint
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